Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens as Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie, Vice President of Vaccine Logistics and Operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on June 4.

Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

The military general overseeing the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the country says Canada is moving to a “more nuanced” approach as the supply of doses is on the verge of outstripping demand.

Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie says more than two million doses of vaccine are already being held back because provinces have said they can’t use them yet – a big change from when all newly arrived doses were shipped around the country as quickly as possible.

“In the coming weeks, we will cross a symbolic threshold of 66 million doses, signalling that there are enough doses in Canada to vaccinate every currently eligible Canadian,” Brodie said at a virtual news conference from Ottawa Thursday.

Story continues below advertisement

“As we pivot from limited supply to sufficient supply, we are implementing a more nuanced approach to ensure that the vaccines are stewarded in a manner that best supports Canada’s enduring domestic needs, as well as optimizes options for supporting global vaccination efforts.”

Provinces can draw more doses from the reserved amount when and if they need to do so.

Canada’s vaccination rate remains among the highest in the world, but is starting to slow as the pool of people still looking for a first or second dose shrinks.

Health Canada has not responded to a question asking how many doses of each vaccine are in that reserve or when they expire. Canada has already said it plans to donate the rest of its expected shipments of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – 17.7 million doses – to the COVAX global vaccine-sharing alliance.

Those doses will be shipped to developing countries that are nowhere close to the level of vaccination Canada now enjoys. In Africa, about three per cent of the population has now received at least one dose, and 1.4 per cent are fully vaccinated.

As of Thursday, more than 69 per cent of Canadians had at least one dose, and almost 47 per cent were fully vaccinated.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, warned countries such as Canada, where vaccinations are high and case loads under control, to remember the pandemic is not over. On Thursday, the WHO reported the number of COVID-19 deaths in Africa jumped 43 per cent over the last week, as the Delta variant continues its devastating spread.

Story continues below advertisement

Several provinces indicated Thursday that they’ve had to destroy some doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that expired July 1 before it could be used. The doses had already had their expiry date extended by Health Canada for another month.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health said Thursday it has 3,190 doses of AstraZeneca that will be destroyed, Prince Edward Island said it is destroying 3,200 doses and New Brunswick 960.

Demand for AstraZeneca plummeted in May after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization said the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were preferred because they weren’t associated with the rare but serious side-effect of blood clots potentially linked to AstraZeneca.

Canada has yet to say when or if it will donate any doses of Pfizer or Moderna. Procurement Minister Anita Anand said there will be 95 million doses of the two vaccines delivered by the end of September. That is at least 20 million doses more than Canada could use even if 100 per cent of Canadians chose to get fully vaccinated.

Most polls suggest about 80 per cent of Canadians will be vaccinated. Currently vaccines aren’t authorized for kids under the age of 12, with hopes vaccine trials on younger children will be finished by the end of the summer.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Thursday Canada will keep enough doses to at least ensure supply for younger children when they become eligible. There are about 4.8 million kids in Canada under the age of 12.

Story continues below advertisement

“We will never do anything that will jeopardize our ability to have, quickly and safely, access to all the vaccines necessary to immunize any eligible Canadian,” LeBlanc said.

Tedros has chastised wealthier countries for vaccinating children, who are at the lowest risk for serious illness from COVID-19, while vulnerable people in other countries can’t get access to a vaccine.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies